Monday, November 3, 2008

I Gave Up on Isak Dinesen

The last time I was at the library I browsed the shelves looking for something different to read and I chose Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen, a.k.a. Karen Blixen, the author of Out of Africa. I got through three and a half tales and I had to quit. I enjoyed portions of each one but overall there were some severe flaws that made them unenjoyable for me.

First, they each end with some sort of "twist" that comes out of nowhere and is entirely perplexing. They didn't seem to help the story at all and in fact, in some cases, ruined it for me. Second, she peppers her tales with french and latin, neither of which do I know enough of to be able to understand them in an obscure gothic story. In one story, the final line of the entire thing was in french, presumably a punchline of sorts, and I wasn't allowed to "get it". Finally, she tends to spend a lot of time with religion and moralizing and in a very pointless manner. The plot of the story is very secondary to the preaching and seems like an afterthought in some stories. I know that stories don't have to be completely plot driven but they should either make an effort with the plot or not bother having one at all.

I don't regret reading as much of this as I did but I just didn't want to continue. My life is a bit random and stressful right now and I just want to sit and enjoy a read at the end of the day. For now I'm going to find a different sort of book.

Moving on to something new,

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